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Hiring 37 LPNs at state prisons would save taxpayers $900,000, study finds

December 13, 2017 GMT

Hiring 37 licensed practical nurses could save taxpayers nearly $900,000 a year by reducing the amount of overtime the Department of Corrections pays to nurses at state prisons, according to an analysis by the Independent Fiscal Office.

Taxpayers spend about $3.9 million to cover overtime costs at 23 state prisons. The analysis doesn’t include SCI-Chester or SCI-Pine Grove.

That total comes out to $59.44 per hour of overtime logged at the facilities, the study says. By comparison, hiring an LPN would cost an estimated $50.16 per hour, saving about $9 per hour, the agency said.

The analysis for registered nurses comes out different because their average cost would be an estimated $60.75 per hour, according to the report.

The overtime costs at individual prisons ranges from $41.41 per hour for SCI-Rockview to $74.61 per hour for SCI-Graterford.

The estimates don’t include the increased pension benefits the state pays to nurses because of the boost overtime pay gives to their salaries, the study says.

The state Department of Labor and Industry has fined the Department of Corrections for violating state overtime restrictions on health care facilities and has some pending violations. Most recently it levied a $31,000 fine against SCI-Mahanoy in August, the report says.

Brian Bowling is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1218, bbowling@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribBrian.